Lead story

War averted in Korea

by our Asian Affairs correspondent

SOUTH Korea has pulled back from the brink of war following marathon talks in Panmunjom this week. High-level negotiators from the north and south of Korea met in the blue buildings — which straddle the armistice line that has divided the Korean peninsula since the end of the Korean war in 1953 — for 43 hours of talks that ended with the puppet regime agreeing to halt its provocations in the Demilitarised Zone and offering to resume talks to lift economic sanctions on Democratic Korea.

On Tuesday a six-point agreement was reached stipulating measures to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula following last week’s exchanges of artillery fire that was provoked by south Korea’s resumption of anti- DPRK broadcasting propaganda along the demilitarised zone.

Tension was already running high on the peninsula because the Americans and their south Korean puppets were carrying out their annual military exercises which simulate an invasion of the DPRK. But it took an even more dangerous turn when two south Korean soldiers were seriously wounded on 4th August when they triggered land-mines during a patrol on their own side of the buffer zone that divides north and south Korea.

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War averted in Korea

Tube dispute: unions advance but no agreement yet

THE JOINT trade unions involved in the long-running London Underground dispute over staffing and safety when plans for 24-hour operation are implemented, have called off their strike to begin on Tuesday this week, but added new strike dates for September.

RMT announced on Monday that the negotiating teams at Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) have made significant progress.

The unions has made it clear to London Underground that they remain in dispute and further strike action will be taken on the 8th and 10th September unless London Underground management meets their concerns over staffing and safety.

RMT has also made it clear that they will take further industrial action if there are moves to run test trains or if there is any attempt to impose Night Tube operations.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “Our negotiators have been able to make enough significant progress in talks at Acas over pay, jobs and Night Tube to allow us to suspend this week’s strike dates. We have still not reached a final agreement and as a result we are putting on additional strike action on next month. In the meantime, the talks process will continue.

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Tube dispute: unions advance but no agreement yet

Editorial

Death amongst the ruins

THE WANTON destruction of the ancient monuments in Palmyra and the brutal execution of one of Syria’s most prominent historians by Islamic State fanatics sent a wave of revulsion across the world that has gone far beyond the archaeological community.

Last week ISIS beheaded Khaled al-Asaad, the 82-yearold retired chief archaeologist of Palmyra, and strung his body up on a Roman pillar in the ruins. They then blew up the ancient temple of Baal Shamin, one of the treasures of Palmyra, an oasis town in the Syrian desert that contains the monumental ruins of a great city that was one of the most important cultural centres of the ancient world.

Dr al-Asaad, who was born in Palmyra and later joined the ruling Baath Party in 1954, worked for 40 years as the head of antiquities in the city of Palms, which was once an important trading hub along the Silk Road, 150 miles northeast of Damascus. He continued to work in the Palmyra museum after he retired in 2003. Refusing to flee when the ISIS militia seized the town in May he was executed after he refused to reveal where some of the most treasured relics had been hidden.

The ISIS terrorists, like their compatriots in Iraq and Afghanistan, have a fearsome reputation for killing anyone who refuses to conform to their sectarian form of Islam and for looting and vandalising ancient sites which they claim are “pagan” and “idolatrous”.

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Death amongst the ruins